Say what you want about his management, Mick McCarthy seems like a decent man. A strong, upstanding Yorkshireman, a former centre-back who bears the marks of a thousand elbows on the bridge of his nose, he's as honest as the day is long – the sea-green incorruptible of prosaic, defensive football. If he was tea, he would be Yorkshire Tea. If he was broadband, he would be Plusnet.
He's not the best, he's certainly not the fanciest, but – by God's own country – he'll do a job. He's a reliable workman, a manager who's all about hard graft, elbow grease and a spot of good, old-fashioned two-footed tackling. Put simply, Mick is a likeable vestige of a bygone age.
So why do people keep aiming horrible, expletive-ridden rants in his direction?
According to The Sun, McCarthy has dropped Arsenal loanee Ainsley Maitland-Niles from his Ipswich squad after the player's mum left him a "poisonous" voicemail message. Jule Niles – previously alleged to be involved in several altercations at Arsenal's training ground – was apparently enraged after McCarthy asked her son to miss an event with the FA to train with Ipswich. Consequently, she's said to have left Mick a message so bloodcurdling, so shocking, that he had to ask his coaching staff to listen "to make sure I'm not going mad."
An Arsenal source for the Sun has said: "Mick's a Yorkshireman and he's prepared to tolerate most things, but not something like this. The language was disgusting and so poisonous that it even shocked Mick.
"He's only ever tried to do what's right for the kid and protect his career, but this is something new to him."
To repeat: "This is something new to him". Now, this is a man who has already experienced one fairly vitriolic tirade in his career. Famously, back when Mick was managing the Republic of Ireland at the 2002 World Cup, Roy Keane made some fairly uncomplimentary comments to him concerning his coaching style, personality, and indeed his very existence. This rant would come to be known as "the Saipan incident", and resulted in Keane being expelled from the team.
The most famous section of Keane's 10-minute oration goes like this: "Mick, you're a liar – you're a fucking wanker. I didn't rate you as a player, I don't rate you as a manager, and I don't rate you as a person. You're a fucking wanker and you can stick your World Cup up your arse. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country!
"You can stick it up your bollocks."
The last line is perhaps the most famous, mainly because nobody is quite sure how anyone could stick the World Cup up their bollocks. The World Cup does not belong anywhere near someone's bollocks, let alone actually inside them. In fact, the sticking of the World Cup up one's scrotum is almost certainly a logistical impossibility. This is the sort of mad, illogical ranting that Mick McCarthy is already familiar with.
And yet, the rant from Maitland-Niles' mum "is something new to him". As such, it must actually be worse than Roy Keane's tirade. What on earth can she have said that's more horrible, more acutely upsetting than Keane's scathing critique?
We don't know. All we know is that Mick McCarthy's voicemail should be scourged with detergent. His phone should be purged with fire. The melted remnants should be broken up, then hurled into the ocean. There, the fish will nibble at them until they are no more. Then, through their open gills, those fishes will murmur the unspeakable.